A Tennessee man infected with measles stopped at a Chick-fil-A in Fort Payne, on his way to Mississippi.
WAAY 31 was the first on Wednesday to tell some customers about the man's stop there on April 11th. One customer said it doesn't surprise or worry him.
"Stuff finds its way everywhere, germs travel, we do what we can do to protect ourselves and hope for the best," said Kelly Spivey, a customer at the Chick-fil-A on Wednesday.
The operator of the Fort Payne Chick-fil-A told WAAY 31, “The Alabama Department of Public Health informed us today that a guest who reportedly visited our Chick-fil-A restaurant on Thursday, April 11 around 5:54 p.m. has been diagnosed with measles. We are following recommendations from the ADPH and encourage guests to visit their website to learn more about this incident and actions to be taken. The health and wellbeing of our team members and guests is our utmost priority, and we clean and sanitize daily to ensure the restaurant is safe.”
When we contacted the DeKalb Department of Health they redirected us to the state department.
State health officials say people who ate at the restaurant on April 11th were likely in contact with the disease. Measles is transferred person to person and can live in the air for 2 hours, or on surfaces touched by someone infected. If you have it, you can spread it for days before you even show symptoms. Health officials say, if you haven't been vaccinated, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get the measles shot.
If you're unsure, call your doctor and they'll help you figure out your next steps. The infected man not only made stops in Fort Payne, but also in Sumter county, Mississippi, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.
Even if you've been vaccinated for measles there is still a small chance you could get the virus, according Pediatrician Dr. Claudia Gaviria in Huntsville. That is another reason people in Alabama need to be very aware of where they were on April 11th.
Dr. Gaviria told WAAY 31 if you have gotten the two shots of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine you are 97 percent protected, but there is still that small chance.
One woman WAAY 31 spoke with said she has personal family experience with the virus. Linda Davis is from Gurley. In the 1960's her younger brother got measles, "We don't know how he got it, but it was really really scary," said Davis.
He survived, but she remembers her family not knowing if he would make it, "For like 3 days it was touch and go," said Davis.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health 20-30 percent of people who get measles have complications, which may include swelling of the brain and death.
Dr. Gaviria said parents not vaccinating their children is reason for the comeback of measles. She's seen parents being apprehensive about vaccinating, "I have seen several cases in the last year and it keeps increasing year by year."
The state health department told WAAY 31 Alabama has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, which is important because it creates a herd immunity, so people who haven't gotten it yet, or can't get it, don't get sick.
"Babies are born and people are less than 12 months of age and people are more than 70 years of age and that kind of a thing and that's when your immunity starts going down," said Dr. Gaviria.
Davis said even with her granddaughter being vaccinated she doesn't like seeing more people getting measles, "Its very very concerning because of all of the children," said Davis.